As veterinarians, you do everything you possibly can to make sure our cat has a safe and comfortable life – but are our perceptions of what is happening the same as our cats? Do we really know what our sleek feline friend is thinking or feeling? It’s important that we can recognize when our cat is feeling super relaxed, playful, or even stressed.
There are many things that are challenging for a cat, but to humans, these are often just normal activities that we encounter on a day-to-day basis. Although cat owners don’t mean to, they might not be taking their cat’s feelings into consideration and, as a result, may be causing stress for their kitties.
Let’s look at some Cat vs. Human Points of View (POV) from different households to see how they differ!
Changes Around The Home:
Human POV: I think that cupboard would look nice in that other corner. If I move it, it would mean I could reach that shelf and put some nice photos and plants up there. But I wonder why Bella (my cat) seems unsettled. It looks as though she has peed in that corner!
Cat’s POV (Bella): Meow! What have they done? They’ve moved that cupboard from my favorite spot. It was just in the right place and I could hide behind that big plant which was on top. It was also a great jumping station so that I could leap onto that shelf; I like to have high-up spots where I can go to feel safe. I do feel stressed when things aren’t where they should be – I don’t like changes!
Changes in Routine:
Human POV: Thank goodness! Lockdown seems to be coming to an end. That means we can go back to the office. Things look as if they might be nearly normal again! It’s been quite difficult adjusting to working from home, but Cherry, our cat, seems to have taken it all in her stride.
Cat’s POV (Cherry): What a difficult time this period has been for us cats too… Before this horrid virus struck, I was very content with my life; I had a lovely daily routine and then it all changed! Everyone had to stay at home, and it did change my life, though my humans obviously were not aware of how it affected me.
Did you know that in a recent study, 20% of owners felt that lockdown had been stressful for their cats? Fortunately, though some very thoughtful humans used FELIWAY® and 70% said it helped their cats.1
As a happy cat, I am glad to say that my human has recently become one of those who use FELIWAY®, after they read about how the past year has been difficult for cats! And I have to say, I do feel much calmer when I’m in the same room as my FELIWAY® Optimum diffuser!
A New Cat in The Home:
Human POV: We love our cat so much, we’ve decided we will adopt another one! Our lovely resident cat, Lunar, could do with someone to play with.
Cat’s POV (Lunar): What? Do I hear another cat in the house? What’s going on – this is my territory, and I don’t like sharing it with other cats! My kitty friend who lives next door, Tabatha, did not like it when her humans brought a new cat home. She spent a lot of time hissing at Twiggy (their new cat) and hiding at the top of the cat tree – where the new kitty couldn’t reach and there was a lot of urine spraying going on while they were getting used to each other.
I’ll try to get along with the new cat, but I hope my humans make sure that the new bundle of fluff has its own bed, and its own toys and bowls. That cat has got to learn who’s the top cat around here! But I notice there’s a new diffuser in the room – FELIWAY® Optimum – and I’m already feeling much more serene! Maybe it won’t be so bad after all!
Human POV: I’m really looking forward to my family and friends visiting us soon, but I hope my feline friend is going to be more friendly this time. The last time we had visitors, Frank just disappeared into the bedroom upstairs and didn’t come back until everyone had gone! It’s very strange because my friends are cat lovers themselves and would love to pet him and make a fuss of Frank.
Cat’s POV (Frank): I remember the last time when my human’s friends visited – they were very nice (I suppose) but they would insist on picking me up and holding me tight. I find that quite threatening so that’s why I don’t like visitors. This time I’m not taking any chances and I will disappear under the bed for a while when I hear them arrive.
People should realize that us cats like to make the decisions about interacting with you! If people ignore me, I might wander over to them to investigate and even rub myself along their leg, leaving my scent on them. I quite like a head or a chin rub, but if I don’t ask for more please leave me be. And let me stay on the ground – if I want to sit on someone I’ll jump up and find my own position— thanks! Think about using FELIWAY® Optimum to help your kitty feel more relaxed and serene when there are visitors as we can find new situations a bit stressful.
Hiding from Unexpected Noises:
Human POV: I can’t understand why Cherry scoots away when I’m doing the washing. One minute she’s hiding in the laundry basket and the next minute she’s run upstairs and hidden under the bed!
Cat’s POV (Cherry): Although the laundry basket is usually a nice quiet spot, sometimes I think my human forgets that we have super sensitive hearing! Whenever I see them sorting out the whites from the colors, I know what’s coming – she’s going to put the washer on and it’s going to be very noisy, so I’m off to find another hiding spot where I can’t hear the noise!
It’s the same on fireworks night; there are so many different bangs, flashes and bright lights, and I don’t know where they are coming from next. My human is particularly thoughtful on fireworks night though, and she gets me prepared for the noise by closing all the doors and curtains and she turns the TV volume up a bit so that the noise is masked. My human uses FELIWAY® Optimum too and it really helps me feel more relaxed and serene.